Straight outta war-torn Belfast, Stiff Little Fingers, fronted by larynx-shredding vocalist-guitarist Jake Burns, dived headlong into the punk fray in 1978 with a Clash-worthy, neutron bomb of a single, “Suspect Device.” Signing to Rough Trade, the group quickly assembled its debut LP, and Inflammable Material sounds as fresh now as it did in 1979. No small wonder: It contains the signature SLF politi-anthem, the incendiary “Alternative Ulster,” a tune no self-respecting punk compilation should omit. 1980’s Nobody’s Heroes was next, a somewhat more diverse and melodic affair as typified by the sturdy title track and the psychedelic dub vibe of “Bloody Dub.” A live album to capture Burns & Co.’s concert prowess was now in order; Hanx! (1980) reprised key numbers such as “Ulster,” “Nobody’s Hero” (here, faster and harder) and “At the Edge,” whose velocity almost made it a punk version of Love Sculpture’s “Sabre Dance.” Go For It (1981) was the group’s most accomplished effort, its widescreen production (check the effects in “Kicking Up A Racket”) and deployment of horns (punk-soul number “Silver Lining”) suggesting a band in the process of evolving. By 1982, however, that evolution seemed to stall, and following a final album (Now Then) Burns disbanded the group, eventually re-forming it in 1987. Consumer Note: These four discs are almost identical to the remastered reissues that came out in Britain on EMI a few years ago; each comes with two or three bonus tracks plus worthy Jake Burns interview material.
Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.